Last Updated 13 Apr 2020

The invasion in Afghanistan was consistent with the Brezhnev doctrine

Category Afghanistаn
Essay type Research
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The invasion in Afghanistan was consistent with the Brezhnev doctrine that relied on the concept of socialist internationalism that involved help to states that have already joined the bloc of Communist states.

The campaign was most probably enabled by a change in the doctrine that involved extra-bloc interventions and more expansionist policies. Although this explanation sounded weak with respect to Afghanistan that never had so much as a mutual assistance treaty with the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union barged in to take control of the area that seemed ‘nobody’s territory.

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Most probably, the basic reason behind the invasion was to set up a military zone in Southwest Afghanistan that would yield control of the Persian Gulf area. The geostrategic position of Afghanistan was also convenient for reaching India, Burma, and Pakistan with Soviet missiles. Besides, the regime in Afghanistan was to certain extent pro-Soviet, and it was imperative to show that revolutionary gains were irreversible. Besides, the prospects of an Islamic state established in the area seemed undesirable to the Soviets, because the Soviet Central Asian republics could become influenced by radical Muslim ideas. At the time of the invasion, the USSR could have feared antisocialist encirclement that would include Pakistan, China, and now, Afghanistan.

The departure was difficult because the Soviet leaders probably felt the need to bring the war to a victory because of the enormous time and costs that already been committed to the enterprise.

They felt that they needed the victory to buttress the pro-Socialist government in this Eastern nation in order to provide support for their nation in this area. The international prestige of the Soviet Union would have been ruined by the loss in the war against a Third-World nation.

2. The West reacted with strong disapproval of the Afghan campaign and tough measures including boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980, economic sanctions, and delay in the ratification of the SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) II. The negative reaction in the Third World triggered the disapproving resolution from the UN General Assembly. The Carter Doctrine emerged that warned against any attempt to take control of the Persian Gulf.

The reaction from Socialist nations was mixed. Nations like Romania, China, Yugoslavia, and Albania were opposed to the idea, whereas East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria were enthusiastic. Others like North Korea and Cuba were undecided on the issue.

3. The war started with a surprise attack as 200 military transports arrived in Kabul, occupying the land with 90,000 troops. The attack proved successful as it allowed the Soviets to kill Amin, establish the government led by Babrak Karmal and effectively seize control of a large territory. However, the later tactics were not that successful.

Discovering large guerrilla operations, the army tried to wipe out whole areas, trying to weaken the local population. This further set the local people on edge, perpetuating support of guerrillas. The split of the army into 20% of counterinsurgency units and 80% of occupational forces led to decrease in morale of the occupational forces. The scorched earth policy in particularly hostile areas and provision of incentives for peasants to support the Soviets did not work very effectively either. The low popularity of the puppet Afghan government and its inability to reduce factionalism were other reasons of failure

4. The decision to withdraw was made largely because of coming certainty that the war could not be won effectively. An 8-year campaign had failed to establish effective control of the whole territory and damaged the reputation of the Soviet military.

At home, the support for the war dropped to dramatic levels, and it was causing deterioration of the morale of the military because of psychological stress and substance abuse. Financial costs also weighed in, as the Afghan campaign competed for a share of the Soviet budget with other conflicts in Ethiopia, Angola, Nicaragua, and Vietnam.

The international relations were expected to improve in case the war ended. The removal of Soviet troops reduced pressure on NATO to ward off the Soviet threat and could improve relations with the West, accelerating détente. Improvement was also expected in the relations with China and Muslim nations.

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The invasion in Afghanistan was consistent with the Brezhnev doctrine. (2016, Jun 27). Retrieved from

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